Jan 16, 2012

Why does email survive in the face of alternative communication streams such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+?

I've seen a couple of articles recently about shedding email and relying on social networks and other services for communication needs instead. Is this a viable choice in practice, or is ditching email the domain of the truly dedicated to maximizing communication efficiency? And, what kind of benefits would one reasonably attain by moving away from traditional email?

Email is much more direct, without all the blather and drivel you find on social media networks. When you send an email you are usually doing it with a particular purpose in mind. This is different often times than the idle chit chat and babble that goes on across social media networks.

Do I sound like somebody that is a bit tired of "social media?" Yup, I recently closed my Google+ account and good riddance to it. I check Facebook once in a while and that's about it. Twitter? I hardly ever even look at it.

Social media may have started out well, but it's degenerated into endless streams of incoherent and pointless babble. The less I see of it, the happier I am.

I may be a nostalgic old fool, but I don't see email going away soon.  For one, an email address is (usually) a short, easily identified "place" where you can be reached.  It can be easily communicated during a phone call, and messages can be easily sent by almost any type of hardware in common use, even those old "dumb" phones.  Also, people are familiar and comfortable with it, which goes a long way towards keeping a technology in wide use.  Not everyone likes Twitter, Facebook, et al, nor does everyone want to log onto Facebook all the time to look for messages from whoever.  Plus, in the end, what is the difference between checking messages on Facebook vs. having a look at your Gmail account?  I can name one:  On Gmail no one asks me to water their bloody carrots or get involved in a so-called mafia war.  Place me in the pro-email camp on this issue.  

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